When Mother’s Day isn’t Facebook Perfect

May 14, 2012

You know the Mother’s Day clichés. Maybe you even were hoping for a few of them.

I went to bed on Mother’s Day eve wondering if my husband was going to make breakfast and serve me in bed. OR load all the boys up in the car & get my favorite Sunday morning treat…donuts! What special place would we go to lunch? Would I get a pedicure? An afternoon to read & sip hot tea?

The first sounds of my morning were hungry newborn cries. His breakfast in bed. It was  the first “happy” moment of the day. Knox slept 11 hours. in. a. row. Meaning hours and hours of uninterrupted sleep for mommy.

Picking up the baby to feed him, then picking up my phone to check email, Facebook, Twitter, I contemplated updating my status: “First gift of mother’s day…great night sleep”. Instead I looked at pictures of other’s homemade Mother’s Day cards…adding to my expectations, I wondered: “Would my boys make me a card?”

At that moment I heard brothers arguing from their shared bedroom. Then a slammed door…running feet…and the words “He called me stupid!” Not quite the gentle, early morning Mother’s Day greeting I was expecting. I responded, “Okay. Tell him not me that you don’t like it.” My husband got up and reminded them to stay in their rooms, quietly until 7 am. Then my hubby crawled back into bed.**

The questioning thoughts began: “Is he going to get up soon? We have to be at church at 9:45 so we can meet his family for lunch at 11:15. Maybe he could still make me breakfast and get ready for church if he starts after 7. I’ll let him sleep.”

An hour passed. I waited. He’s still asleep. My insides started to get angry. “Don’t I sacrifice a lot for our family. Is it too much to expect one day dedicated to me? All about me? Serving me?” Finally I decided the boys must be fed or we wouldn’t make to church on time.

In frustration I headed downstairs. Fortunately my mood changed when I was greeted by this sweet face & the words: “Happy Mother’s Day, mommy! My robot wants to tell you Happy Mother’s Day too!”

It wasn’t breakfast in bed…it was better. No prompting. He spoke from his heart, making his words even sweeter.

For the past two weeks my foot has been bothering me slightly. It started after my favorite workout…Latin Fusion (a mix of Zumba and hip hop and so much fun). Even though it’s been hurting I’ve continued to work out…because it wasn’t that painful and seemed to just be a strained muscle.

Friday’s weight training was the straw that “broke” the mama’s foot. I couldn’t walk. Literally crawling around downstairs I was in so much pain. Saturday was more of the same.

Waking up Sunday morning to make my own mother’s day breakfast with an injured foot was not my ideal. It was NOT the perfect Mother’s Day Facebook status update.

Neither was lunch at Chili’s with 8 adults and 9 children aged 7 and under. Far from a sophisticated meal with tablecloths and fine china. Children climbed over seats. White shirts covered in queso. Moms quickly shoving food in their mouths. Yet there was laughter & joy & kissing a newborn brother.

After lunch I didn’t get coffee & read a book, but my hubby and older boys went to the   grocery store for us. Not a spectacular gesture but meaningful to a mommy with a limp.

The real fun came when instead of going on a date with my husband, he and I took a trip to the ER. Yep. Happy Mother’s Day to me!

I didn’t get a Mother’s Day pedicure…instead I got foot x-rays. Which revealed a stress fracture in my left foot. I didn’t get cute new neutral summer sandals…I got a clunky black walking boot and metal crutches.

Again, even when things aren’t “Facebook perfect”, there are gifts to be found. A quick trip to a new & super efficient ER (not connected with a hospital). A mother-in-law in town for the weekend and able to extend her trip to help me out this week.

AND the best mother’s day gift…sympathy and concern from three sweet boys. They greeted me as I entered our home teetering on crutches. My eldest asked: “If it doesn’t heal will they cut off your leg?” My 2nd son stated how sorry he was this happened to me on Mother’s day. My 3rd son, the two-year-old simply hugged my leg.

It wasn’t “Facebook perfect”. It wasn’t glamorous. But my Mother’s day was filled with little joys. Nuggets to hold in this messy, crazy season.

On these holidays and birthdays when the world shouts to make it “all about you”, I find myself constantly disappointed. Expectations left unmet. God didn’t create Mother’s Day. He created mothers. Mothers to love, serve, nurture, encourage, and teach their children. It’s only when I put on my “God” glasses and look for Him in my day that I experience true and lasting joy. 

**I did get my husband’s permission before writing this post. He apologized profusely for what he called, “his MAJOR daddy fail”…aka not making mommy breakfast. I think I’ve still got it pretty good. 


  1. Meaghan Jackson

    You post reminded me much of my own Mother’s Day. I woke up early (after a rough night) with my youngest. Then I spent the day cleaning the house for a viewing. My husband slept in then played with the boys. We went to church and rushed home for lunch and more cleaning. He lay down with one of the boys for his nap while I finished the house work. I took the youngest grocery shopping during the viewing while the other two went to the hardware store. I was feeling a bit annoyed at points during the day. But then I was so thankful for God to provide beautiful flowers from the garden for me. My boys were so cute and huggy. Parts of the house had already been cleaned for a party the night before. And my guys did buy me a hanging basket. My husband loves me and shows me in his own little ways. I am learning NOT to compare myself to what the world says my life should be like!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      So thankful that in the midst of your “imperfect” mother’s day you were able to find joy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. alice

    Sorry about your foot! I spent a good portion of the day feeling sorry for myself for many of the same things you listed, forgetting entirely that the person I’m trying to become like said that He didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      “He didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” Amen sister! (p.s. thought fondly of you yesterday during Northwest’s service…dedicated to adoption/foster care…amazing!)

  3. Jess

    Such a lovely post. Yes, the kids wanted to take me to Dunkin Donuts for Mom’s Day before church. We were running very late (big surprise) and my hubby ran in for coffee and donuts while I nursed the baby in the back seat of the van. Ha! Our days are precious even if a pedicure and an afternoon reading seem ideal, your blog is so true…there is more joy in the messy, crazy season. Praying your foot heals quickly!!!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thanks Jess! The nursing in the back of the van…oh yes, been there! Hope your day was full of joy.

  4. Lisa @ MakingItInVermont

    “On these holidays and birthdays when the world shouts to make it “all about you”, I find myself constantly disappointed. Expectations left unmet. God didn’t create Mother’s Day. He created mothers. Mothers to love, serve, nurture, encourage, and teach their children. It’s only when I put on my “God” glasses and look for Him in my day that I experience true and lasting joy. ”

    YES, YES, YES! Thank you for posting. All I can say is “me too” and my day turned out just lovely when I accepted what came with appreciation instead of expectation.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      “and my day turned out just lovely when I accepted what came with appreciation instead of expectation”…well said my friend, well said!

  5. Amy Burkholder

    Heather, I had a similar day. I spent the day in class working on my Pilates certification while hubby was home with the kiddos. I was hoping/expecting that they would go out to get me a card/gifts etc. while I was gone and come home to celebrate ME. Well, he’s not quite brave enough to venture out with both kids to the store by himself just yet, and admitted he was “lame” didn’t get anything. And as the day went on I started to feel sicker and sicker and came home to a baby with tearing/goopy eyes. So she and I went to immediate care to determine I had tonsillitis and she had a sinus infection. Eventually came home with antibiotics for both of us, put her to bed and went in to kiss Braden goodnight. Daddy reminded Braden to tell me Happy Mother’s Day to which I replied, “I’m glad I’m your Momma” and he responded back with a hug saying, “I’m happy you’re my Momma too”. Just that one phrase made my day. It is the small things not big presents a meal etc. Just being blessed to BE a Momma is good enough for me! 🙂

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Oh sweet Braden!! He is a precious blessing. Thanks for sharing your story Amy.

  6. Honey

    Thanks for sharing your day! Sometimes I’m amazed at what others expect from their families, and what some couples actually spend and do! I know my family loves me, and tries to make me feel special. But we are just not real elaborate when it comes to gifts and such. I try hard to remember the “little things” daily like special accomplishments, etc. Hope you are better soon!

  7. Christy

    Thanks Heather. I have been stewing over some frustration related to the fact that my love language is gifts and my husbands is not. It means that I am often disappointed at holidays. This year I covered the day in prayer and appreciated the little things that I love about mothering my precious girls.
    BTW, I saw your hubby and all 4 boys in the elevator at church and told them all how impressed I was that he was getting them all to church.


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